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Coronavirus

Laos' debt woes worsen as bills for China-funded dams loom

Coronavirus rattles first US dollar bond, adding pressure to weakened economy

BANGKOK -- COVID-19 has rattled Laos' debut in selling a U.S. dollar bond in international markets, adding pressure on a country whose "Wild West of dam building" splurge has put it in a precarious repayment situation, especially in regard to China, its leading lender.

Sources familiar with the banking system in Laos, one of Southeast Asia's poorest countries, say the government has adopted a "wait and see" stance before proceeding with the bond sale. "The central bank has still to confirm if the bond sale will go ahead this year," one source said.

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